System Windows and Doors – a promising market in China

The word System became first known to fenestration professionals in the year of 2000 when Schüco entered the Chinese market. But what are global trends in windows and doors systems? How is windows and doors systems research and development done? How should the production of system windows and doors be managed properly? How should enterprises prepare well in technology development and design?

Neither these questions, nor the gap between China and overseas companies, were taken seriously by Chinese fenestration companies in the last decade. People were busy completing construction or meeting deadlines, while the quality of windows and doors went unheeded by the regulators, house developers or contractors. Now more and more fenestration companies have begun to adapt themselves to market demand, open in-house laboratories and increase investment on R&D. And more than 200 of these will be displaying their latest system windows and doors at Fenestration China 2016 from Nov. 9-12, the Chinese system windows and doors industry.
The market share of system windows and doors is expected to increase from 0.5% to 30% in the next decade, creating a multibillion-dollar market.
The past 15 years witnessed tremendous growth of China’s real estate market. Since houses were sold quickly, both developers and buyers overlooked the quality of buildings, esp. the performance and quality of windows and doors, the most important parts of building envelope. However, with the real estate industry coming back to a rational development track, the continued strengthening of requirements for construction energy-saving by the government and the increasing standards of people’s life quality, system windows and doors (also called high-performance windows and doors) is drawing more and more attention from both the producers and users. How are the development forecasts for system windows and doors in China? Are there potential marketing opportunities?
According to statistics, the newly completed commercial residential buildings in China measure a total windows and doors area of about 1,030 million square meters every year. So far system windows and doors are only accounting for 0.5% of this total. Although the construction industry was experiencing a severe downturn in recent years, the application of system windows and doors in construction projects has been increasing, particularly in economically advanced regions like Eastern and Northern China and in high-rise apartments as well as in detached houses. “In pursuit of better building quality, system windows and doors have been adopted in all new Landsea (a famous real estate developer) projects and furthermore a set of technology and supplier evaluations system has been set up” said Shu Jian, Deputy General Manager of Landsea.
From Project Contracting to Retail – A radical Change in Chinese Fenestration Market
The golden decade of the Chinese housing market has created a fenestration market of poor quality and low pricing, which was a nightmare for European enterprises that value technical expertise. Whatever technologies one has, no one can possibly produce a window with K value up to 1.8 at the cost of RMB300 per square meter! Being cheap was the only thing that house developers cared about in the past.
The year 2015 was a turning point – China saw a first wave of demand for windows and doors replacement. A huge number of windows and doors installed in the 1990s are damaged and therefore the replacement demand of the mass market is still booming. Moreover, the well-educated post-1980s and post-1990s are becoming the mainstream consumer population. They have a stronger desire for quality life and a more discerning eye for premium products than any previous generations. For this reason, almost all upmarket fenestration enterprises are going to shift their focus from the project contracting market to the retail market. To name a few, Schüco opened its first technology experience center next to Metro Line 11, Shanghai. Shunda, a China-based windows and doors manufacturer giant, founded a windows and doors museum years ago. High quality awareness is becoming the predominant consumer habit in wide parts of the Chinese population. As Mr Zhe Liu, the secretary of China Construction Metal Structure Association, said: „The total amount of China’s existing buildings equals 6 million square meters. Many of them need replacement of its windows, which is generating a huge demand in the windows market.”
3 Unique System Windows and Doors Models
The Chinese market is dominated by three typical system windows and doors business models:
1. Independent system suppliers. The majorities of them are R&D-oriented enterprises and boast a robust R&D and technical support system, with the abilities to impart a whole set of technologies and management methodologies to window processing enterprises.
Representatives: Schüco, YKK
2. Material suppliers evolving into system suppliers. These companies are mainly material suppliers. They develop systems primarily for the purpose of increasing their sales figures of their core products, for example, profile products or hardware.
Representatives: ROTO-ROTOi, Giesse-GOS, Shide
3. Windows and doors enterprises evolving into system suppliers. In the past these companies mainly sold assembled windows and doors and are now getting committed in system R&D.
Representatives: Shunda, Milux, Jiayu, Orvill
Technology Gap – Business Opportunity for European Enterprises
Taking into account the above mentioned three business models, there are perhaps not more than 100 system fenestration enterprises in China. Can these companies cater the demand of a trillion yuan market? As a matter of fact, there are nearly 40,000 windows and doors processing enterprises in China and most of them are lacking the necessary technical knowhow. The expertise in exporting entire systems undoubtedly means a great opportunity for European enterprises. European windows and doors enterprises will be able to establish brand recognition and step into the market quickly with the help and a trustful partnership with the Chinese standouts.
Companies from Germany realized this development many years ago. Therefore 17 German enterprises use the opportunity to exhibit in the “German Pavilion” at Fenestration China 2016 which became the most important platform for them to intensify their market presence and their long term relationship to Chinese partners.
On 31st May, 2016, China Federation of System Windows and Doors was established with more than 100 members and was asked by the Ministry of Construction of P.R.C. to draft a Technical Guide of System Windows and Doors as the industry standards. This should ensure a proper development of China’s fenestration market and will improve the quality of home-made windows and doors products. Hu Baosheng, General Manager of Shenyang Ledao, a System windows and doors supplier, said: “The gaps between Chinese system windows and doors and Europe system windows and doors are clear. In view of the huge untapped market in China, we wish to forge ties with overseas System windows and doors supplier – both in technical R&D and in market expansion.”
All in one! – System windows and doors gathering at Fenestration China, the largest fenestration expo in Asia
Fenestration China, Asia’s largest fenestration trade fair held in each November, has become the most important annual event for the fenestration industry. Fenestration China 2016 will be held at China International Exhibition Center (New Venue), Beijing between 9 and 12 November 2016. International system windows and doors enterprises, including Schüco, YKK, Aluk, Wicona, Hueck and ROTO, and Chinese system windows and doors players like Joydon, CIVRO, Jiayu, Ledao, Huachang, Weiye, Huajian, will occupy half of the exhibition space and debut with their latest products and innovative sales strategies. Meanwhile, ten thousands of windows processing enterprises will be present to seek technical solutions and more than 4000 sellers from oversea including Southeast Asia, South Asia, Central and Eastern Europe as well as South America are expected to show up. Ms. Yi Zhang, the Director of the organizing committee, Beijing International UnionExpo Co., Ltd, once said in an interview: ”Fenestration China has gone through constant development of 14 years. By gathering technicians and purchasers from real estate, architects and construction fields, FC now serves as an excellent exchange platform with solutions for Windows, Doors and Curtain Wall systems.
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